One and all, I'm so happy to have my friend Elsa Watson guest posting for Mother's Day. Not only is she a sweet person (and a new mother herself), she is a wonderful writer, and her new book DOG DAYS, which comes out this month, is one of the funniest books I ever read. My copy is on pre-order at Amazon and I can hardly wait to get it! I know you'll love it, too.
In fact, let me order a copy to be shipped to you, too. Leave a comment here on the blog page and we'll pick one lucky winner to receive a copy of Elsa's new book.
Sheila, thank you so much for having me! I’m honored to be here on Mother’s Day, especially since I know this is an important day for all of us who love your books. You have plenty of great mother-and-daughter pairs in your charming little ski town, including the fabulous, candy-making women of the Sterling family in Better Than Chocolate (coming this October.) My very favorites are the dueling—and loving—moms and daughters in Merry Ex-Mas (coming November 2013.)
No one is more important to a woman’s evolution than her mom. This Mother’s Day, I’d like to thank my mom for being such a passionate reader—and for passing her love of books on to me.
I can trace my childhood through the books Mom put in front of me, starting with The Little Red Hen, a family favorite about a determined hen with a do-it-yourself attitude. Mom had a knack for getting me started on series of books, then leaving the rest in my hands. She read Little House in the Big Woods aloud; I read the rest on my own. Mom gave me Ballet Shoes by Noel Streatfeild; I read all the other Shoes books (over, and over, and over again.) She read the first Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle book, Ruth Chew’s What the Witch Left, and Ramona the Pest, and I took over from there.
Not only was Mom a great reccommender of books—guiding me toward everything from Caddie Woodlawn to The Secret Garden—but she loved to talk about them. I remember discussions about Nancy Drew (“she’s a little prefect, isn’t she?” Mom once remarked) that led me to branch out and find my own girl-detective heroine, Trixie Belden. When I was struggling through The Red Badge of Courage, Mom read the book in an evening and the next day talked me through it until I figured out the theme. Later, in high school, it was Heart of Darkness and Wuthering Heights that we’d discuss until I’d found my way to a paper topic. But I don’t mean to imply that our talks were all academic. Rebecca, Gone with the Wind, and Jane Eyre were all books that I loved reading, but that really bloomed to life when I had the chance to talk them over, reveling in the delicious details with a fellow reader who thought they were just as marvelous as I did.
Today, Mom continues to put great books into my hands. Almost every time I see her, she has something new for me. Recently, when I was up for hours at a time feeding our newborn, Mom brought me a huge bag of books. “I don’t want anything sad,” I said. (It’s emotional stuff, having a new baby!) Mom understood and brought me Major Pettigrew Lives for a Day, Mennonite in a Little Black Dress, The Egg and I, and our old favorite, I Capture the Castle.
Mom’s own reading tastes are broad—as you’d expect from someone who’s interested in life in all its colorful variations. She’s read a little of everything, from science fiction and romance to Middlesex and Middlemarch. And recently, she finished reading the Twilight series—in Spanish, of all the wild things. I guess I don’t need to say that my mom makes me proud.
This Mother’s Day, I hope Mom and I will have time to wander through a bookstore, talking about the books we’ve read and the ones we want to read. And, later in the day, if Mom has passed me a book or two, I’ll go home feeling lucky, knowing that we’ll have something riveting to talk about the next time we meet.
Elsa Watson is the author of Dog Days, in which Zoe (a dog) and Jessica (a person) are struck by lightning and switch bodies, leaving Jessica trapped in a dog’s body—and giving Zoe thumbs and the chance to speak. (Coming May 22.) Find Elsa online at www.elsawatson.net.